Caroline Plummer Community Dance Project Dunedin, New Zealand 

Starting next week, we will begin our 8 week sessions of music and dance with new mothers and their babies. Free of charge. Expect to have a great time with, connect with other parents, get in touch with your creativity and learn about healing through movement.

Monday’s and Tuesdays at 3pm at the Dunedin Parents Centre


Wednesday’s at 11am at the Halfway Bush Playgroup.

Looking forward to it.

Community Dance Classes Dunedin New Zealand

One of the most exciting things I get to do is bring the flavor of my homeland to New Zealand. For 8 weeks starting next week, we will move and groove to the rhythms of Africa to stay warm in cold Dunedin. I cannot wait to dance with you all. See you there.  

Wednesday Afrobeats July 15 @ 4pm

Friday Afro-Dizzy-ak (Aphrodesiac

July 17th @12:10pm 

665 Cumberland Street

3rd floor dance studio

Cost: Koha (Donation)

 

Reflections and gratitude- The journey of the 2015 Caroline Plummer Dance Fellow

My welcome message at the Auckland airport
My welcome message at the Auckland airport

I am finally here in Aotearoa!!!!!

I am ecstatic about this moment. I remember when I was informed  about this fellowship and I thought to myself ” This is perfect for me and I must go for it”  and then the self doubt began. Am I good enough? What about my full time job? What about my living arrangements? Would they care for what an African woman living in the U.S has to say? Would they care that I am not a trained classical dancer? Would they care that I am not a stick figured dancer? What if they don’t understand my accent? Are there black people there? (this was before I found out the meaning of black in Aotearoa is different from  where I live). I pushed through all the doubts and moved  forward  with the application. The application process was much simpler than I had expected. I had to send in a proposal about what I planned on doing through a paper and an unedited video. I had so much anxiety around making the video. I looked through youtube and could not find any previous winners of the fellowship posted. I had one week left to go before the deadline and no video. A friend suggested the interview style I used which made it less nerve racking and it worked. I had sent in numerous proposals  which all got rejected so why would this time be different?  sent it in with crossed fingers hoping they wouldn’t judge all the background noise and my hair (its a black girl thing to be worried about the perception of the hair). It was less than perfect but because of the timeline, I sent it in anyway. I prayed that it would be selected. I envisioned myself jumping up and down from hearing the good news. Once it was submitted, the anxiety dissipated and all I had control over was my mantras, visualizations and positive thoughts.  

On June 26th 2014, I received an email that stated Great news, I’m pleased to advise that you have been shortlisted for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship for 2015. Your application will be considered by the full board in mid-July. We will be in contact with you again following the boards consideration of the short-listed applications”. I was ecstatic!!!! I prayed, mediated and envisioned the possibilities of this opportunity. In July 2014, I received a phone call from the Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences personally to notify me that I was the chosen recipient. I of course dramatically fell on the floor from shock of the great news and was in shock the rest of the week. It’s been almost a year since I received the initial information and since then, the press release went out, I notified my friends and family, left my full time nurse consultant job,  and I have moved to a foreign country. I am here in Dunedin NZ reflecting on how I got here to this moment. Six months seems like hardly enough time to accomplish the work I have set out to do researching the effect music and dance has on mothers and babies. I hope that I am able to connect with the right people, learn what needs to be learned, honor and respect the people of the land and be present in the precious moments that are yet to come. Stay tuned for more of my reflections.
In gratitude
Uzo

Dance & Drum of Nigeria, West Africa & Beyond! 2015

2015/01/img_5482.jpg

Come by and celebrate with community the power of preserving indigenous cultures of Africa in America.

https://www.facebook.com/events/626290614165704/

Schedule:

DRUM
Saturday Febrary 7 2:00-3:30 pm

DANCE
Monday February 9 7:00 – 8:30 pm

DANCE
Thursday February 12 7:00 – 8:30 pm

DRUM
Friday 2/13
5:00 – 6:15pm

DANCE
Friday 2/13 6:30 – 8:00 pm

DRUM
Friday 2/13
5:00pm- 6:15pm

Price per class: $15 / Students: $10
Drum rental $5
Group rates available
Trade for work available too

Join Akeem Ayanniyi and Uzo Nwankpa for four unique classes in the art of Nigerian and West African inspired dance, rhythm, culture and tradition. Experience the energy and vitality of African culture through dance and music, shared by two extraodinary artists.

Live drumming, no dance or drum experience necessary, all levels welcome! Ideal for all ages. Wear comfortable clothes, shoes optional.

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/african-dance-drum-workshops-tickets-15388443248

Akeem Ayanniyi leads Agalu. The “Ayan” prefix of Akeem’s name Ayanniyi, indicates that he descends from a family lineage that can be traced back 700 years to the Yoruba deity ofdrumming, Ayan Agalu. As the ninth generation of his family to play the traditional Yoruba talking drum, Akeem, is from the Western Nigerian town of Erin Oshun near the historic art center of Oshogbo.He has been performing since the age of five and has, as a performer and teacher, toured much of Africa as well as Germany, Brazil, Sweden and the United States. Akeem settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1993 and founded Agalu in 1998. http://www.agalu.com

Uzoamaka (Uzo) Nwankpa is from the eastern part ofNigeria, formerly known as Biafra. She migrated to the United States and has continued to promote health and wellness through movement. She developed a program called the Uzo method project which facilitates healing through the indigenous sounds and movements of her country. She is a descendant of an all time award winner of the Atilogwu dance (specific to Iwollo town) competition of the Eastern Region of Nigeria Mazi Emmanuel Nwankpa. http://www.theuzo.com

Evolution of Identity

IMG_4752.JPG

A submission sent into the Voices from the streets movement was sent in and I will be presenting at the performing the world conference in NYC Oct 10th 2014. I was asked to respond to a few questions. How does your art form affect your identity? And who you are becoming, or have become? AND, does your art form have any intersection with issues of social justice. I’ll be there installing myself live in NYC Times Square. More to come.

The first African to recieve this prestigious fellowship-2015 Caroline Plummer Dance Fellow, Uzo Nwankpa

Dance Shot

Photo Credit : Jade Beall

I am super excited to share with the world this wonderful news. I have been awarded a fellowship to work with a population that is near and dear to my heart women, children and their family. Check out the press release below.

University of Otago Arts Fellowships for 2015 announced

 

In my last blog post, The Uzo Method Project- A Public Health Solution- Community Based Resource Center for PMAD, I shared some research data that shows the importance of music and dance on energy and stress levels. This curiosity about music and dance continues as I continue to tie my graduate studies work to the power of music and dance. I am striving to build the relationship between being a health care provider in public health nursing and my gift and passion for dance, it is a no brainer to explore and study the best way to merge the two disciplines and worlds.

I was fortunate to be awarded this fellowship at the University of Otago. Yes!!!!! I am going to Aeotoera (New Zealand) as the 2015 Caroline Plummer Dance Fellow. I get to live my dreams combining dance with Maternal and Child Health nursing. This opportunity involves working with the community members of Dunedin NZ as well as the health care providers exploring the culture and perceptions around pre-natal and post-partum mood disorders (PPMD). This would lead to an informed community dance experience and a performance/arts installation at the end.The goal of my Maternal-Child Dance project is to share cultural ideologies around PPMD and engage in community awareness of the benefits of music and dance as a support for the mother, babies and their families and communities as a whole as members experience disturbances due to PPMD.

My dream…..

I wonder what it would be like if nurses, nurse home visitors, nurse midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, OB/GYNs, mental health providers, and family members used music and movement as a part of relieving the anxiety, preventing further depression, decreasing stress, building community, developing positive pathways in the brain, building relationships, improving caregiver child interaction, and improving communication through everyday practice.

Uzo Nwankpa

Founder Uzo Method Project

The Uzo Method Project- A Public Health Solution- Community Based Resource Center for PMAD

Logo-Uzo-Method-Purple

From December of 2011 through March of 2013, women who were diagnosed with or at risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) were offered an Uzo Method dance intervention. There were 54 dance interventions provided for 28 unique participants. Participants were asked to rate their stress and energy on a 5 point scale both before and after the intervention The proportion of participants who reported a reduction in stress was 83.33%. The proportion of participants who reported an increase in energy was 81.25%. This is wonderful information that proves my belief that dance improves well being and especially when life is tough. Parenting in the first few years can be especially challenging when PPMD is suspected or diagnosed. The community can help at large if we can sensitive to new moms, their emotions, the resources and support systems that encourage dancing together. Let us all get up and get moving with good music. Uzoamaka Nwankpa RN BSN Grand Canyon University Graduate Student Masters of Nursing Science Uzo Nwankpa, facilitated all the sessions and collected the data which was compiled and analyzed by Fania Bevill, also a  registered nurse.